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But when by Man's audacious labour won,
Like Doctors thus, when much dispute has past, We find our tenets just the same at last.
16 Both fairly owning, Riches, in effect, No grace of Heav'n, or token of th’ Elect; Giv'n to the Fool, the Mad, the Vain, the Evil, To Ward, to Waters, Chartres, and the Devil. 20
Ver. 20. John WARD, of Hackney, Esq. Member of Parliament, being prosecuted by the Dutchess of Buckingham, and convicted of Forgery, was first expelled the House, and then stood on the pillory on the 17th of March, 1727. He was suspected of joining in a conveyance with Sir John Blunt, to secrete fifty thousand pounds of that Director's estate, forfeited to the South-Sea Company by Act of Parliament. The Company recovered the fifty thousand pounds against Ward; but he set up prior conveyances of his real estate to his brother and son, and concealed all his personal, which was computed to be one hundred and fifty thousand pounds. These conveyances being also set aside by a bill in Chancery, Ward was imprisoned, and hazarded the forfeiture of his life, by not giving in his effects till the last day, which was that of his examination. During his confinement, his amusement was to give poison to dogs and cats, and see them expire by slower or quicker torments. To sum up the worth of this gentleman, at the several eras of his life: At his standing in the Pillory, he was worth above two hundred thousand pounds ; at his commitment to Prison, he was worth one hundred and fifty thousand; but has been since so far diminished in his reputation, as to be thought a worse man by fifty or sixty thousand. P.
FR. CHARTRES, a man infamous for all manner of vices. When he was an ensign in the army, he was drummed out of the regiment for a cheat; he was next banished Brussels, and drummed out of Ghent, on the same account. After a hundred tricks at the gaming-tables, he took to lending of money at exorbitant interest and on great penalties, accumulating premium, interest, B. What Nature wants, commodious Gold bestows, 'Tis thus we eat the bread another sows.
and capital, into a new capital, and seizing to a minute when the payments became due; in a word, by a constant attention to the vices, wants, and follies, of mankind, he acquired an immense fortune. His house was a perpetual bawdy-house. He was twice condemned for rapes, and pardoned; but the last time not without imprisonment in Newgate, and large confiscations. He died in Scotland in 1731, aged 62. The populace at his funeral raised a great riot, almost tore the body out of the coffin, and cast dead dogs, &c. into the grave along with it. The following Epitaph contains his character very justly drawn by Dr. Arbuthnot:
HERE continueth to rot
Excepting PRODIGALITY and HYPOCRISY:
Nor was he more singular
A MINISTERIAL ESTATE.
He was the only Person of his Time,
Retain his Primeval MEANNESS
Oh indignant Reader !
P. But how unequal it bestows, observe, 'Tis thus we riot, while, who sow it, starve:
PROVIDENCE connived at his execrable Designs,
To give to After-ages
In the Sight of GOD,
This fine reflection has been much admired; it is also found in La Bruyere: but he evidently borrowed it from Seneca : “Non sunt divitiæ bonum; nullo modo magis potest Deus concupita traducere, quam si ille ad perpessimos defert, ab optimis abigit.”
Cur Bonis Viris mala fiunt, cap. v. This
passage was pointed out to me by an amiable friend, equally skilled in all parts of useful and ornamental learning in matters both of taste and philosophy, Dr. Heberden.
The figure of Chartres is introduced by Hogarth in the first plate of his Rake's Progress, and behind him stands a man whom he always had about him, and was his pimp.
This Gentleman, it was said, was worth seven thousand pounds a year estate in Land, and about one hundred thousand in Money.
Mr. Waters, the third of these worthies, was a man no way resembling the former in his military, but extremely so in his civil capacity; his great fortune having been raised by the like diligent attendance on the necessities of others. But this gentleman's history must be deferred till his death, when his worth may be known more certainly. P.
Ver. 20. Chartres and the Devil.] Alluding to the vulgar opinion, that all mines of metal and subterraneous treasures are in the guard of the Devil : which seems to have taken its rise from the Pagan fable of Plutus the God of Riches. W.-No such allusion was intended!
Ver. 21. What Nature wants, commodious Gold bestows,] The epithet commodious gives us the very proper idea of a Bawd or Pander; and this thought produced the two following lines, which were in all the former editions, but, for their bad reasoning, omitted,
“ And if we count amongst the needs of life Another's Toil, why not another's Wife?" W.
What Nature wants (a phrase I must distrust) 25
B. Trade it may help, Society extend.
Ver. 29. Trade it may help,] What is here put into the mouth of Bathurst, might be, with equal propriety, transferred to Pope; and so, indeed, may many other lines.
Ver. 33. and Patriots rave;] The character of modern patriots was, in the opinion of our Poet, very equivocal; as the name was undistinguishingly bestowed on every one who was in opposition to the court; of this he gives a hint in Ver. 139 of this Epistle. And agrecable to these sentiments is the equivocal turn of his expression here,
“ In vain-may Patriots rave;" which they may do either in earnest or in jest; and, in the opinion of Sempronius in the Play, it is best done in jest. W.
Ver. 34. If secret Gold sap on from knave to knave.] The ex, pression is fine, and gives us the image of a Place invested; where the approaches are made by communications, which support one another: just as the connexions amongst knaves, after they have been taken in by a state-engineer, serve to screen and encourage each other's private corruptions. W.
Ver. 35. beneath the Patriot's cloak,] This is a true story, which happened in the reign of William III. to an unsuspected old Patriot, who coming out at the back-door from having been closeted by the King, where he had received a large bag of Guineas, the bursting of the bag discovered his business there. P.
“ Sir Christopher Musgrave, the wisest man of the party (the
And gingling down the back-stairs, told the crew,
Tories), died before the last Session; and, by their conduct after his death, it appeared that they wanted his direction : he had been at the head of the opposition that was made in the last reign, from the beginning to the end; but he gave up many points of great importance in the critical minute; for which I have good reason to believe that he had twelve thousand pounds from the late King, at different times.” Burnet under the year 1705.
Ver. 39. Blest paper-credit!) “ None of my Works,” said Pope to Mr. Spence, was more laboured than my Epistle on the Use of Riches.” It does indeed abound in knowledge of life, and in the justest satire. The lines above quoted have also the additional merit of touching on a subject that never occurred to former satirists. And though it was difficult to say any thing new about avarice, a vice that has been so pelted,” says Cowley, “ with good sentences,” yet has our Author done it so successfully, that this Epistle, together with Lord Bacon's thirty-third Essay, contains almost all that can be said on the use and abuse of Riches, and the absurd extremes of avarice and profusion. But our Poet has enlivened his precepts with so many various characters, pictures, and images, as may entitle him to claim the preference over all that have treated on this tempting subject, down from the time of the Plutus of Aristophanes. That very lively and amiable old nobleman, the late Lord Bathurst, told me," that he was much surprised to see, what he had with repeated pleasure so often read as an epistle addressed to himself, in this edition converted into a dialogue, in which," said he, “ I perceive I make but a shabby and indifferent figure, and contribute very little to the spirit of the dialogue, if it must be a dialogue; and I hope I had generally more to say for myself in the many charming conversations I used to hold with Pope and Swift, and my old poetical friends.” In truth we may make the same objection that Perrault is said to have done to the tenth satire of Boileau; “ l'auteur oublie quelquefois que c'est un dialogue qu'il compose.” I cannot forbear adding, that Cicero gives to his friend Atticus a very small share in those dialogues in which he himself is represented as a speaker.